Seaside Stories

Crabbing at the 12th Avenue Bridge

September 30, 2012 | by Nate Burke

My version of catching crab is typically reserved to receiving my plate at one of our many seafood restaurants in town. But it’s no secret that there are some outstanding opportunities for DIY crabbing in Seaside. What’s the local crabbing scene like? I decided to head down to the 12th Avenue Bridge to find out.
I had thought that the crabbing process would involve grueling labor and skillful claw-dodging but I was pleased to find out that catching your dinner is really quite easy. The 12th Avenue Bridge crosses the Necanicum River just shy of the estuary and is a stunning wildlife viewing area in its own right. It’s an ideal backdrop for unfolding a lawn chair, opening a cooler, and catching some rays while you wait for your inevitable crab catch.
A community of crabbers from all over the northwest were out enjoying the crisp afternoon. They are extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to share their insider’s wisdom. A group from Battleground, Washington hauled up their crab pot from the river with three large male crabs gleaming in the sunlight. “Want to hold one?” they asked. They showed me how to pick up a crab by its two rear legs, just out of reach of its pinch-happy claws.
Crab pots and hoop nets (I’m told crab pots are more reliable) are cast into the river and tied directly to the bridge. What’s the best bait to use? According to one local, crabs have a sharp sense of smell and, like humans, are attracted to rare delicacies. Surprisingly, raw chicken is a very popular and successful bait. Chicken is as delicious to a crab’s palette as, well, crab is to ours. The scent in the water distinguishes itself from more common fare and I guess even crabs get a little weary of eating seafood all the time.
Crabbing in Oregon’s bays and estuaries is open year round and according to the 12th Avenue Bridge crabbers, a 4-hour venture will nearly always yield a feast. However, September through December tend to yield meatier crabs.  The best times of day tend to be right at high or low tide when the crabs don’t have to fuss with the tidal exchange currents.
What does a beginner need to get started? In Oregon, you’ll need a shellfish license , your crab pot or hoop net, a rope, and bait. Around Seaside, Trucke’s and Bud’s Campground can supply permits, bait, and all of your gear rental needs.
The evening ended at the 12th Avenue Bridge with a group setting up a large portable boiler and beginning their evening banquet. “What’s the largest crab you’ve ever caught out here?” I asked a family from Vancouver. The father gazed out towards the distance and replied, “9 inches, not including the legs”. He was quickly challenged by his wife and son but he persisted: “I’m serious! It was the Moby-Dick of Dungeness crab! I ate him with garlic butter!” Being a newcomer, that’s all the proof I needed. But the rest of the family remained skeptical.  I’m hoping to catch my own Moby-Dick Dungeness here soon. See you in Seaside!
Editor’s note:  For more information on Oregon’s recreational crab fishing, including recreational shellfish regulations, check out the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s crabbing page here.

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Fishing Adventures In and Around Seaside

Fishing on the Oregon Coast near Seaside

Learn More
Customer Service and the Bottom Line

As we prepare for a new year and our annual Customer Service Awards Program, we visit the question that most business owners are f...

Learn More
Episode Four: the Seaside Museum & Butterfield Cottage

Audio walking tour of the Seaside Museum & Butterfield Cottage

Learn More
Gone Fishin’

You know you’re in Seaside when . . . this sentence can be completed in numerous ways. Today I’ll finish it with: . . . you see a guy walking down the road in tall rubber boots, fishing pole in one hand, long silvery fish dangling from the other.

Learn More
The Pacific Pier

A look at the old Pacific Pier in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
Wave Meets Wall

Back in 1925, the waves would encroach on Seaside's Turnaround with a dramartic ferocity

Learn More
Broadway Field is a Community Gem

Renovated Broadway Field is a community gem

Learn More
Wildlife Along the Coast

Driving highway 101 can yield miles of scenic wonders

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: The Fresh Side of Seaside, Oregon

Feature story on Seaside Oregon, highlighting top attractions in Seaside OR

Learn More
Seaside Elk

I was driving into Seaside, along Highway 101 South, and had just passed the Circle Creek Campsite on the left, when I noticed several cars parked off the side of the road.

Learn More
Clamming and Crabbing Closures in 2015

With all of the recent closures in recreational clamming and commercial crabbing, it’s difficult to know what to share with visi...

Learn More
Broadway Retro

A look at downtown Seaside during the 1960s

Learn More
The Cove in Seaside

Rain or shine, the Seaside Cove is a must-see-stop whether you’re a tourist or a local. It’s a mixture of sandy and rocky beach. There are tons of parking spots, and Seltzer Park is just across the street. There are public restrooms and a shower to rinse off sandy feet. There are also plenty of benches for both wave watching and people watching.

Learn More
1859 – Oregon’s Magazine: 72 Hours In Seaside

1859 came to Seaside/Gearhart area and spent 72 hours in our fair neck of the woods. Day One they highlighted the historic Gilbert...

Learn More
Stop and Smell the Roses

Spending a little time with Seaside's pocket gardens

Learn More
Seaside Aquarium

Seaside is a city that combines fun and relaxation; fun and entertainment; fun and food; fun and history; fun and sports; well you get the idea and that is why I always end up somewhere in Seaside. Visiting the Seaside Aquarium became this week’s mission to indulge myself by doing something fun and mentally challenging.

Learn More
Hot Summer Car Shows help usher in the summer season in Seaside.
Hot Summer Car Shows

Two Seaside car shows help usher in and wind down the summer travel season

Learn More